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Ohio Communities Could Not Ban Plastic Bags Under Proposed State Legislation

State Officials consider banning the ban on plastic bags some Ohio communities have implemented.

State Senators considering one of two bills to ban local bans on plastic bags heard from around 40 opponents, who either came to a committee hearing or sent in written testimony. They were speaking out against a bill that’s similar to one that passed the House this summer. 

There were local officials talking home rule, including Ben Kessler, the mayor of Bexley, one of three communities with bans on plastic bags.

“That’s something that local jurisdictions should determine until such a time that the state of Ohio weighs in on an overarching basis about a similar regulation," Kessler said. 

And there were those with environmental and public health concerns. Alan Rosenfield with the League of Women Voters calls the ban on bans counterproductive to Ohio’s serious plastic waste disposal problem. “The problem will not go away," Rosenfield said. "If the state has no solution, things will only get worse.”

Republicans, including sponsor State Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem), whose family owns grocery stores in the Youngstown area, say they’re concerned about a patchwork of plastic bag regulation and the long-term costs of paper and cloth bags.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.